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Theodore J. Saunders v. Cdcr

March 12, 2013

THEODORE J. SAUNDERS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CDCR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 6) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS SECOND SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Theodore J. Saunders, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action on January 11, 2013 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.)

The Court screened and dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim, but gave leave to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on February 13, 2013. (ECF No. 6.) The First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for screening.

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous, malicious," or that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990), quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

III. SUMMARY OF FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Avenal State Prison ("ASP"). He is due for release on November 29, 2013. He graduated from an ASP substance abuse program ("SAP") provided by Defendant Centerpoint Inc. ("Centerpoint"). He did so based on the promise of state sponsored Substance Abuse Service Coordinating Agency ("SASCA") funding in an aftercare program of his choosing upon release.

Plaintiff claims that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), pursuant to recently adopted state prison realignment law (AB 109), determined he will be released on local probation, rather than state supervised parole. This, he says will render him ineligible for SASCA aftercare funding upon his release.

Plaintiff claims his SAP program contract has been breached.

He also claims he has been discriminated against and denied equal protection and due process because he has been treated differently from many of his classmates, who graduated SAP and received approval for SASCA sponsored aftercare while being placed on probation.

He names as Defendants (1) J. Lourenco, CCI Counselor at ASP; (2) Centerpoint Incorporated SAP Program; (3) Denise Richardson, Director of SAP; (4) Celestina "Tino" Rayos, Supervisor of SAP, and (5) Martha "Marti" Clark, Transitional Counselor of SAP.

He seeks (1) to enjoin CDCR from "applying this form of disparate treatment unfairly and prejudicially to unfortunate SAP graduates [who are] victims of AB 109"; and (2) "SASCA funding or the funding from another source to attend an aftercare facility of [his] choosing." (First Am. Compl. at § V.)

Plaintiff' also filed a state court habeas petition seeking an order that ASP release him on parole rather than probation so he could receive SAP aftercare services. That petition was denied on December 18, 2012.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Pleading Requirements Generally

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.' " Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 667-68.

B. No Relief Available Against CDCR

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief against the CDCR. He may not do so.

The CDCR is not a named defendant. Relief is not available against an unnamed party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Additionally, as Plaintiff was advised in the First Screening Order, the Eleventh Amendment prohibits suits against state agencies. See Natural Res. Def. Council v. California Dep't of Transp., 96 F.3d 420, 421 (9th Cir. 1996); Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Co-op., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (concluding that Nevada Department of Prisons was a state agency entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity); Mitchell v. Los ...


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